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Peter Heinemann

Marathon vs Doom article

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I found this comparison between our beloved Doom and Marathon (that I used and loved to play on my Mac before I found Doom) on the "Macintosh Marathon Triologie-Box Set", Maps CD.
Marathon rocks! It has many features that were new when it came out in 1994: Mouselook, talk to friends over microphone whilst beeing in netgame, realistic weapon physics (ballistic grenates like in Quake) weapon reload, two modes each weapons, ki-terminals, etc. Marathon 2 had 16-bit graphics, ambient-sounds, swimable deep water - in 1995! Well, I do not want you to drop Doom (I could not imagine to quit Doom by myself) but have a look at a copy of Marathon 2 (get it on ebay - my advice), even in the worst case that you do not own a Mac. There is a hybrid-CD version out which holds both Windoze and Macintosh Marathon 2.

And know read the comparison which I found. I have neither wrote anything of this nor changed anything, all honour goes to the author: --Mark O===---***
(unfortunately he has not posted his name clear)

I must warn you that the author does not speaks too good about Doom.

Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 14:35:28 -0400
From: removed emails numbers to save them from receiving Spam
Subject: Marathon vs. Doom

Firsat of all, I would like to say that I am an avid reader of Marathon Magazine. I have Marathon, DOOM II, the Marathon 2 demo, and many other games. I get into so many arguments with DOS-heads over DOOM that I decided to examine Marathon and Doom II closely to determine which one is better. The rest of this file is a comparison between the two best first-person action games available for the Mac.

Marathon vs. DOOM II (referred to as "Doom")

Now that the two best first-person action games ever are both on the Mac, the stage is set for a head-to-head confrontation. Who is better, and how? DOOM II has been in the top-selling PC games list for nearly two years now. Marathon is the latest game from Bungie Software, maker of the classic Pathways Into Darkness. Marathon and Doom are very similar in the way they look and work, but they are different in important ways. Read this, and choose for yourself...

*Bungie has announced Marathon 2: Durandal, the sequel to Marathon. It will add several features missing in Marathon. If a feature is marked with an asterisk, it will be available in Marathon 2 soon. You can download an *11 MB* demo of Marathon 2 at: ftp.bungie.com right now.

Eleven, available in up to 4 colors each. (Fighter, Trooper, Hunter, Enforcer, Wasp, Hound, Compiler, Bob, Defense Drone, Hulk, Juggernaut) All monsters are basically the same: they walk/fly, they see you, they shoot something at you. They also have a "stationary" image, so the don't "walk in place" like in Doom.
Unique monsters: Defense Drones, who fight on your side, and Bobs- innocent civilians who run around in panic.

Seventeen, all very different. (Zombie man, Shotgun guy, Heavy Weapon Dude, Imp, Lost Soul, Demon, Spectre, Cacodemon, Pain Elemental, Revenant, ManCubus, Arachnotron, Hell Knight, Baron of Hell, Arch-Vile, The Spider Mastermind, The Cyberdemon)
These monsters have more variety. They have more capabilities than in Marathon, such as "intelligent" projectiles- the Pain Elemental. Unique monsters: The Arch-Vile, who can resurrect dead monsters around him.

The artist of Marathon said that the monsters were designed to look very realistic. And they are. Doom's monsters seem designed to provide the most gameplay excitement, reality be damned.

Marathon: Seven- fist, pistol, fusion pistol, M-75, SPNKR, TOZT-25, and the alien weapon.
The biggest advantage Marathon has in this category is second-trigger capability: Each weapon can have more than one type of ammo, and fire more than one type of projectile. The M-75 also fires grenades, and the fusion pistol has an "overload" mode that brings the number of weapons up to nine. It also has a flame thrower- nothing can top running through corridors incinerating your friends and enemies! Fire is cool!

Doom: Nine- fist, chainsaw, pistol, shotgun*, double-barreled shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma rifle, BFG 9000 Doom's arsenal contains the "classic" BFG 9000. What does BFG stand for? Hint: The first and last words are Big and Gun. Now what F-words do you know?...

Once again, Marathon goes for realism, Doom goes for action. Marathon's nice touches include weapon recoil, actual reloading of new ammo clips, and the ability to use two pistols simultaneously. Doom's double barreled shotgun is probably the best all-around weapon in both games.

You are a security officer on the interstellar colony ship Marathon, orbiting Tau Ceti. You are in a shuttle doing some routine maintenance work when the computer goes HAL 9000 on you and the Marathon is attacked by aliens. Now you must save the Marathon, the colony on the planet below you, and the rest of Earth from the assault. Not bad, but a few too many cliches.

You are "the toughest space marine ever to suck vacuum", stationed on Mars. You are sent to investigate a distress call on the moon of Deimos, where a large coporation has been performing experiments in teleportation. You wait in reserve as your friends enter and are slaughtered. Now it's your turn. Allow me to be frank: This plot is just an excuse for a slugfest.

Both games have the same elements in them: You, alone, must save yourself and the rest of humanity from a lot of monsters. Marathon's story is more developed, with more real characters and unexpected twisted in the middle of the game.

Both games use basically the same graphics engine technology, so they look and feel very similar. Where the difference comes is in the skills of the artists and the ingenuity of the level designers. Since the two games have so much in common, I'll just tell you the nice touches.

Marathon's primary advantage is the ability to "look" up and down. This way, you can shoot monsters above and below you. Marathon also has many complex effects, like pulsing lights, and moving walls and floors. Marathon also supports an HMD for virtual-reality gameplay.

Doom's primary advantage is support of background pictures*. You can actually see menacing clouds or burning cities, instead of monotonous stars. Doom also supports transparent textures*, like bars of a cage- see through, shoot through, but not walk through.

I prefer Marathon's texture collection and lighting effects, but Doom gives a better sensation of "being there".

Sound and Music:
Dozens of sounds range from realistic to otherworldly. You've got gunshots, zaps and explosions, panicked shouting, and whining ricochets. Marathon also supports panning stereo sound, so if a monster is on your left, his shots sound from the left and move to the right as you move. Sounds also fade as a monster gets father away. (There is an updater on AOL that gives Doom this capability, but it does not work too well.) Marathon's music is nothing to write home about, there are around 12 mildly annoying New Age-ish tracks that repeat every few levels.

Grunts and moans, bangs and booms, roars and splats, they're all here. Doom's sound effects are well-matched to whatever event they accompany. The music is great- dozens of rock/pop tracks accompany every level, and sometimes in between.

Doom's weapons have great sound effects- check out the rockets!- but they tend to repeat, and you get an unwarranted feeling of "Ha! Gotcha!" whenever you recognize a recycled sound. Marathon's sounds really improve the gameplay, especially when the Bobs scream "They're everywhere!" just before they are smashed by a monster.

Marathon is a much more "brainy" game than Doom. Some levels are real teasers that will take you weeks to solve. Marathon can place levels in a vaccum, so that certain weapons do not work, and you need oxygen to survive. One unique feature of Marathon is the AI terminal, a computer in the wall that you can "jack" into and retrieve messages. These terminals inform you about each level, give you background history on the world of Marathon, and reprimand you for not completing a mission.

Doom was not designed to test wits, it was designed to test trigger-fingers. Still, it has its share of mazes and mysterious switches. Doom also supports keycards*, which unlock doors. Where Doom really goes wild is secrets: you can find nearly anything on a level if you know where to look, and there are even two secret levels.

Marathon: As above, Marathon is more brainy than Doom. The monsters are less gory than Doom's, and when there is a lot of blood is is yellow or blue, but not the kind of gratuitous gore you get in Doom. Still, you have a rocket launcher that can really send corpses flying.

If you want blood, get this game. Almost anything causes major bleeding in the world of Doom. Monsters fall down in puddles of blood. Monsters burble intestines as they deflate. The rockets launcher literally blows them apart, with fragments of flesh flying everywhere.

Doom is for people with itchy trigger fingers, but Marathon is for a well-balanced person who wants some thinking in with the carnage- brains and brawn, that sort of thing.

Network play:
Marathon can run over AppleTalk, LocalTalk, or Ethernet, but the feature most players will notice is the lack of direct modem connection. Marathon will run under ARA, but it is very sluggish, from what I have heard. Marathon has several maps dedicated to net play, but does not support cooperative networking*. One of Marathon's advantages is a real-time microphone that allows you to speak to other people in a game. Also, Marathon has a game recorder that plays back "movies" of earlier games.

Doom can run over almost any network, with AppleTalk, MacIPX, and direct modem connection supported. It supports up to four players for Deathmatch (kill each other) and Cooperative (help each other beat the game) play. It can also support mixed games- Doom-Mac against Doom-PC.

Marathon's pieces are spread throughout up to five separate files, so there is no one program that does it all for Marathon. The Physics Model Editor allows shuffling of graphics and sounds and so on. Map editors allow you to make you own levels, if you can figure out their interfaces and keep Marathon from crashing.

Doom has been around long enough to generate a huge shareware following, with many editors on many networks. Doom uses a single file, called a WAD file, to store all game data, so most shareware programs are intergrated packages that can edit anything, almost. The disadvantage is that none of these editors are on the Mac. Doom-Mac supports the thousands of PC WAD files available on CompuServe etc. directly, assuming you can get them onto a Mac.

Special features: What does one do that the other doesn't? Marathon:
-The ability to look up and down.
-Second trigger: see "weapons"
-The motion tracker: a radar display that follows moving objects. -Shrapnel: a dying monster explodes and causes damage. -Low grav: Marathon can manipulate its own environment. -AI terminals: see "Adventure/Puzzles"
-The ability to flash the screen many different colors. -Monsters that "defect" and fight the other monsters -Vacuum: see "Adventure/Puzzles"

-Monsters that shoot other monsters at you. -Teleporters that can transport monsters. -Semitransparent textures: see "Graphics" -Background pictures
-Exploding barrels of toxic waste
-Direct modem network play.
-Cooperative network play

Marathon 2: Coming soon!
-The ability to "swim" under water and lava. -Teleporting weapons and ammuntion
-AI terminals now support graphics.
-Cooperative network play
-A shotgun!

Which one?
Now you've seen what each game can do, what the other game, can do, what each game can't do, what each game can do and the other can't, and so on. It's time for you to make a decision: Which is better, Doom or Marathon?

--Mark O===---***

Taken from:
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 14:35:28 -0400
From: removed emails numbers to save them from receiving Spam
Subject: Marathon vs. Doom

Marathon vs. Doom, published on the "Macintosh Marathon Triologie-Box Set", Maps CD


I have NOT wrote this article!

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Nice read but i've played both games and i pefere Doom2 any day.
and as for the secondry fire, Mlook, recoil, it can be done in
doom now.

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I've played, and beat both DooM II and Marathon 2 (Doom II first though). DooM II was challening, and i gotta say barrels o' fun. Marathon 2 was a bigger challenge, however. I like to refer to it as the "thinking man's doom." Both games have their unique features however, and after i got tired of the blast and splat of Doom, i went and played marathon for about a year and a half.
And I did, as sirgalahadwizar says "Experiment a little with the logic center of your brain before a zombie eats it." The use the logic center of my brain." Marathon was a pleasant change, but the action was a bit slow. So back to good old DooM II! "Oh look! there are source ports available! oh look! more wads. Oh...darn...only one physics and two sound mods for marathon =( Oh well...Doom II it is."
My point to all of this, in case you people think this is some worthless verbiage (which I'm beginning to think it is) Is that:

1) DooM I & II is the best FPS so far in history
2) DooM I & II will always be the best FPS ever.
3) The ability to heavily modify the DooM codebase has kept the game alive. =)

anyway...enough of my rambling. anybody else with an opinion on this matter, that is more intelligent sounding than mine is? =)

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Just another comment from me: I have a few (well..maybe many) comments about the authors of the Marathon VS. Doom and Doom Vs. DF articles. These people appear to be insecure about the games that they want to defend: i.e. DF and marathon. The marathon article was tolerable (probably because I have marathon 2). But, the DF article seemed to be quitely hitting Doom below the belt.

I know it didn't explicitly say anything negative about Doom, but it seemed whoever wrote it seemed a bit insecure about the status of DF compared to Doom. Have you noticed that for every new FPS that comes along, hundreds of critics are following closely behind? There seems to be a pattern to all of this:

--New game is anticipated, and feelings are friendly
--New game is released, and people start to form opinions.
--As a soon as the new game has proven itself as a worthy buy
people come crawling out of the woodwork to tear down id's

Everybody wants "his" or "her" game to be better than the Doom series (and more recently the Quake series), and even though they display an aura of non-partison feelings, they can't help but bashing Doom. (Notice I'm not going to say a single bad thing about Marathon or DF in this post!)

I don't blame the developers for making a game so they can get some food on the table, and a roof over their head (Very expensive food, and a Very luxurious roof, mind you). But I am sick of hearing these "friendly" comparissons between Doom and other FPS's. They bash DooM for some of its shortcomings, and try look innocent by pointing out just a few its own shortcomings, often with much more innocuous language.

And I don't know about the critics, but it seems to be common sense that the game to come out second is usually more advanced. So what if you can't look up and down in DooM? Lets look at the games you can: they all (except for one) came out AFTER doom. Hm...Is there something going on there? Or is it just coincidence.

Another thing that bugs me..."choose for yourself" seems to be intended for the fans of the non-doom game--who will always defend it. Funny that half the articles and FAQ's comparing doom to another FPS in a "friendly" way are ususally posted on the non-doomer's message board/web site. Do I see a hint of bias there? Has anybody heard of neutral, completely independent parties? Has America's corrupted political system filtered down into the computer game industry?

So moving on now...I realize that those articles are a few years old, but it happens today with the Quake games too. And it will continue, so I'm gonna say something to all of you DooM critics. It is probably something that your kindergarden teahcer said to you: "Now Play nicely, or its time out for you."

(By the way...Peter H., thanks for posting these. You've given me a way to relieve my stress for the day.)

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